Opera Mobile 9.7 boasts many improvements, Flash support confirmed

According to a post on Webware this morning, the upcoming 9.7 version of Opera Mobile - their browser for handheld devices - will boast some exciting new features.

Key among them will be the addition of the same Presto javascript engine that powers Opera 10 on the desktop, Opera Turbo to conserve bandwidth and boost speed on slower connections, Google Gears support, and out-of-browser widgets via a new manager application.

Opera's Ted Miller also confirmed to me that 9.7 will support Flash Lite. Dave McAllister, Adobe's director of standards and open source, commented that the "addition of Flash Lite to Opera brings the ubiquity of the Flash Platform to one of the best mobile browsers around."

It's an interesting development. When you look at this news along with the announcement that BSquare is working on Flash for Android handsets, iPhone users wind up out in the cold as pretty much the only group who will still lack mobile Flash support (even after iPhone OS3 debuts).

Opera will be demoing 9.7 at CTIA in Las Vegas next week. In the meantime, we've got screenshots for you to check out.

Opera 9.7 Mobile